A single blind, clinical trial to investigate the effects of a single session extracorporeal shock wave therapy on wrist flexor spasticity after stroke

Spasticity is a frequently occuring and serious symptom that follows stroke. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) has been recommended for the treatment of muscle spasticity. Fifteen patients with poststroke wrist flexor spasticity (12 male and 3 female with a mean age of 54 years) were enrolled. Patients received 1 sham ESWT followed by 1 active ESWT 1 week later. The outcome measures were the Modified Modified Ashworth Scale (MMAS), the Hmax/Mmax ratio, and the Brunnstrom motor recovery stage. The sham ESWT had not effects on the outcome measures. After active ESW, the MMAS scores of spasticity and the Hmax/Mmax ratio improved. The improvements were maintained 5 weeks after active ESWT. No significant improvements were observed for the motor recovery after sham or active ESWT.

The study found in adult patients after stroke, a single session of active ESWT yielded a significant improvement in the wrist flexor spasticity and alpha motor neuron excitability.